The World Wide Web in My Kitchen

About the author: Kelly Leovic has worked at EPA for 21 years and manages EPA’s Environmental and Community Outreach Program in Research Triangle Park, NC. She is also EPA’s Federal Women’s Program Manager in Research Triangle Park. On occasion, she can be seen in EPA’s Fitness Center – just another one of EPA’s family-friendly options.

I’m sitting in my kitchen doing email and glance up from the laptop, noticing a good-sized cobweb between two pottery pieces on an upper shelf. I’m working at home this morning as part of EPA’s telecommuting or flexiplace program.

Over 80% of employees at EPA in Research Triangle Park use flexiplace or other family-friendly work options such as flexible work hours, part-time employment, or a compressed work schedule (working 9 hour days, with 1 day off every other week). These flexible work options make work more enjoyable because they allow employees to balance work and personal lives. For me, that would be three kids who span elementary, middle, and high school.

Photo of people sitting around a table at a luncheonEmployees aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of EPA’s family-friendly “environment.” This is the 4th year that our EPA campus has been named to the NC Family Friendly Top 40 which is sponsored by Carolina Parent Magazine. We celebrated on September 17 at a breakfast which honored awardees. Check out the picture…our group of eight even had two EPA guys join us, so you can see that workplace flexibility and family friendly isn’t just a female thing.

In addition to each other’s company, we also enjoyed the keynote speaker, Pamela Stone, who shared data and insights from her research on why well-educated women often opt out of the workforce. In summary, most of the women in her study who “opted out” after having children did so not because of “family” but because their employers didn’t offer them the opportunity to balance their work with their family. I feel fortunate to work at an Agency that does offer a gourmet “menu” of flexibility options as well as for a supervisor who walks the talk with regard to supporting employee flexibility. As a result, I love my job and work hard at it because I love it.

So, what do I do now? Jump out of my seat and get the extended handle duster or stay at my computer and type this Blog? Reflecting on how the web could look by the end of October (say the 31st) and considering what an environmentally-friendly decoration a natural spider web would be, I stay seated and appreciate that I am able to telecommute.